By Lee Stace
“I KNOW we aren’t the best two fighters in the world.”
With those few words, Sonny Bill Williams summed up what Yours Truly was thinking following the All Blacks and Crusaders midfielder’s scratchy win against overweight Tongan gospel singer/sickness beneficiary Alipate Liava’a.
Put simply, SBW still has a lot to learn when it comes to the art of boxing.
Some of his punching was loose and his basic in-ring technique left him exposed and vulnerable at times during the bout. Had he been in the squared-circle with a half-decent fighter – not some ham-and-egger with tennis elbow and a penchant for singing – Williams would have found himself lying unconscious on the canvass.
Remember, Sonny Bill, you need to keep your hands up. You’re not Rocky Balboa, who, if you’ve seen the popular boxing movies, would take more hits than Google in his fights and somehow still power home against the odds.
This is real life, not Hollywood. Anyone who takes that kind of punishment will wind up in a hospital or, worse, a morgue.
The fact Williams was unable to make light work of Liava’a was also startling. After all, Williams is 25 and in phenomenal shape. Liava’a, on the other hand, is on the wrong side of 40, has more rolls than a bakery and had lost his last seven fights.
It was a big mismatch and yet it went the full six rounds. Williams’ fans – of which there are many, it must be said – will say Liava’a showed great heart and determination to go the distance with their man.
Boxing purists, however, will agree that Williams still has plenty to work on after securing the fourth win of his professional career.
What do you think?
With the series level, expect both teams to put it all on the line as they seek to win the deciding test in Sydney on Saturday night.